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Wireless Technology – A Guide to the Modern World

The word wireless means “having no wires”.  Wireless technology enables us to interact without using cables or wires. People and other entities can communicate over very long distances with wireless technologies. Wireless technology combines RF (Radio Frequency) and IR (Infrared) waves. It is used frequently for data transmission.

A complete composition about wireless technologies that have made your life easier.

Wireless technology – Brief history

1880

The first wireless communication happened on June 3, 1880, when Charles Sumner Tainter (1854-1940) and Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) invented the Photophone. They also patented the photophone in that year. The photophone was a device that enabled the transmission of sound on a beam of light.

1886

German physicist Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894) found electromagnetic waves. Heinrich Hertz was the leading person to transmit and receive controlled radio waves.  After some brilliant experiments, Heinrich Hertz discovered radio waves and proved that James Clerk Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism is correct. Hertz also discovered the photoelectric effect, presenting one of the first clues to the existence of the quantum world.

1876

Alexander Graham Bell, recognized as the inventor of the telephone because he had awarded the first successful patent. Nevertheless, there were other inventors such as Elisha Gray and Antonio Meucci, who also developed a talking telegraph.

1896

Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) established work on long-distance radio transmission and invented the wireless telegraph. The first message traveled over 6 km & it was “Are You Ready?”

1909

Marconi and Karl Ferdinand Braun (1850-1918) shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for the advancement of wireless telegraphy. 

1946

The first commercial telephone service started. Saint Louis, Missouri, AT&T, and Southwestern Bell launched the first American commercial mobile radio-telephone service for private customers.

1947

John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley, who later shared the Nobel prize, invented the transistor. It served as the foundation for the development of modern electronics and made possible the marriage of computers and communications.

1962

The first telecommunication satellite, Telstar, was launched into orbit. Satellite transmission enabled instant communication such as long-distance phone calls and real-time international TV.

1968

The Defense Advanced Research projects Agency – US (DARPA) selects BBN to develop the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the parent of the modern internet.

1979

The first commercially automated cellular network (the 1G generation) was launched in Japan by NTT, initially in the metropolitan area of Tokyo.

1984

Martin Cooper, the engineer from Motorola, developed the first hand-held phone DynaTAC that could connect over Bell’s AMPS. Motorola launched the DynaTAC in 1984.

1997

Wi-Fi was released for consumers in 1997 when a committee called 802.11 had set up. IEEE802.11 was the name for a set of standards employed when setting up a WLAN.

1999

The first consumer Bluetooth device was introduced in 1999. This invention took the “Best of show Technology Award” at COMDEX. The first Bluetooth mobile phone was the Ericsson T36, which was the updated T39 model, made it to store shelves in 2001. Akin, IBM introduced the IBM ThinkPad A30 in October 2001, which was the first notebook with integrated Bluetooth.

Throughout the 20th century, many types of wireless technologies were invented. Such as the radio and television receive broadcast communications without using wires. After that, in the 21st century, we all know how the world has shaped by wireless technology.

Wireless Technologies

The wireless technology is categorized depending on the type of applications in the real world. 

Satellite Communication

Satellite communication is a self-contained wireless communication technology, which is extensively spread all over the world, allowing users to stay connected around the earth.

The satellite transmission consists of a space portion and a ground portion. When the satellite sends a signal through a device, the satellite enhances the signal and sends it back to the receiver antenna located on the surface. The ground portion consists of a transmitter, receiver, and the space portion, which is the satellite itself.

Portable satellite phones and modems have powerful broadcast features and reception hardware than cellular devices due to the extended range.

Infrared Communication

Infrared wireless communication conveys information in a device or system via IR radiation. IR is electromagnetic energy with a wavelength longer than that of red light. It is used for security control, TV remote control, and short-range communications.

Infrared devices need to keep a constant line of sight between the devices and are more stable over short ranges. Most handheld devices and laptops have a built-in infrared port to exchange data with each other.  

Broadcast Radio

The first wireless communication technology is open radio communication. Radio broadcasts sound through the air as radio waves with its transmitter that transmits the data in the form of radio signals to the receiver antenna. Handy multi channel radios allow a user to speak over short distances, and maritime radios offer communication services for sailors. Radio broadcasting happens via cable FM and satellites over long distances at up to two megabits/sec.

Microwave Communication

Microwave wireless communication uses radio waves. Here, the data can be transferred using the satellite method & the terrestrial method. Microwave wireless technology allows two devices to communicate using microwave dishes that have aligned with each other. 

The microwave electromagnetic radiation has wavelengths ranging from one meter to one millimeter, or equivalently, with a frequency within 300 MHz (0.3 GHz) and 300 GHz. Its exposure to people can cause water in the eyes, which is a clouding of the lens, preventing oneself from seeing clearly & affecting parts of the brain. 

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a low power wireless communication system used by various electronic gadgets like smartphones, laptops. Wi-Fi is a common networking application that affords portability wirelessly. We use Wi-Fi for data transmission and wireless communication. It is cheap and often results in faster & reliable internet access.

Mobile Communication Systems

Mobile telephones are called cellular technology. A mobile network is a wireless network spread over ground areas location transceiver, known as a cell site or base station. Every telephone communicates with a nearby transmitter, which switches as the phone moves around a location. 

Mobile phones range of networks to accommodate coverage is large & similar to GPS devices, phones use signals from satellites to communicate.

Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth is named after the 10th-century Danish Viking, King Harald Blåtand (translated as ‘Bluetooth’ in English). He assembled and controlled Denmark and Norway, henceforth the association of joining devices through Bluetooth. Legend has it that he liked eating blueberries so much that his teeth became tainted with the color of the fruit, giving ascent to his name!

The primary purpose of the Bluetooth technology is that it permits you to connect multiple electronic devices wirelessly to a system for transferring data. Cell phones are now connected to hands-free earphones, mouse, wireless keyboard. 

Therefore, as you may now reasonably have noticed, the only general thing in Wireless technology is the carrier frequency that lets it to transmit over the air and travel with any associated accepted applications.

Real-life applications of Wireless Technologies

These are the sectors of wireless technology applications.

  • Wireless Communication
  • Space
  • Military
  • Telecommunications
  • Wireless Power Transmission
  • IoT (Internet of Things)
  • Radar communication
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Fiber optics
  • Intelligent Transport Systems

WiFi, WiMax, Bluetooth, Femtocell, 3G, and 4G are some of the valuable examples of Wireless technology used in real-life chores.

Generations of Wireless Technologies

Wireless systems include different generations of wireless technologies – 1G, 2G, 2.5G, 3G, 4G, and 5G.

1G

  • Introduced in the 1980s and completed in the 1990s.
  • The range was 2.4kbps to 5.6kbps.
  • Allow voice calls within the country.
  • Based on analog telecommunication standards.
  • DynaTac 8000X.3 was the first 1G phone.
  • Military, certain government agencies, and users in special industries used it initially.
  • Consists of AMPS, NMT, TACS.
  • Uses frequency modulation techniques for voice signals & Base Stations take all the handover decisions.
  • The spectrum within the cell was divided into several channels & every call got a dedicated pair of channels.
  • Using a packet-switched network made Data transmission between the wire part of the connection and PSTN possible.
  • Poor voice quality.
  • Poor Battery life.
  • Large phone size.
  • Lack of security.
  • Limited capacity.
  • Poor handoff Reliability.

2G

  • Based on GSM.
  • Launched first in Finland in 1991.
  • Range 15 to 40 kbps.
  • Used digital signals instead of an analog signal and SIM card.
  • First to offer data services and SMS and MMS service.
  • Make use of the CODEC or compression-decompression algorithm for compressing and to multiplex digital voice data.
  • The technologies used in 2G are either TDMA or CDMA.
  • 2G’s digital signals are very dependent on location and proximity.
  • Analog has a smooth curve when digital has a jagged steppe one.

2.5G

  • 2.5G brings standards that are midway between 2G and 3G, including the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems (UMTS), etc.
  • Speed is 64-144 kbps.
  • Web browsing.
  • Takes 6-9 minutes to download any mp3 song.
  • In addition to the circuit-switched domain, it implemented a packet-switched domain.
  • 2.5G gets described as 2G cellular Technology combined with GPRS. 
  • GPRS uses GSM architecture for voice data, but to offer packet data service a new class of network nodes called GSN has been introduced.
  • These helped GPRS to efficiently transport high-speed data over the current GSM & TDMA based wireless network infrastructure.

3G

  • The concept for IMT-2000 was born at the ITU as 3G in the year 2000.
  • First to enable video calls.
  • The transfer rate is 128-144 kbps.
  • 3G is a set of technologies and standards that include W-CDMS, WLAN, and cellular radio, among others.
  • High transmission speeds make it suitable for modern smartphones that require a constant high-speed internet connection for many of their applications.

4G

  • In March 2008, ITU-R specified a set of requirements for 4G standards, named IMT-Advanced.
  • It sets peak speed requirements for 4G service at 100 Mbps for great mobility communication and 1 Gbps for low mobility communication.
  • One word used to describe 4G is MAGIC:
    1. Mobile multimedia
    2. Anytime anywhere
    3. Global Mobility Support
    4. Integrated wireless solution
    5. Customized personal services
  • The usual voice and other support of 3G provide mobile broadband Internet access, such as laptops with wireless modems, to smartphones, and other gadgets.
  • Two 4G candidate systems get deployed commercially:
    1. Mobile WiMAX standard
    2. Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard.
  • 4G does not promote traditional circuit-switched telephony service, but all-Internet Protocol (IP) based communication such as IP telephony.
  • Higher bandwidth.
  • Easy access to the Internet.
  • New frequencies mean new components in the cell tower.
  • Higher data prices for consumers.

5G

  • 5G indicates the next major phase of mobile telecommunications standards surpassing the current 4G/IMT-Advanced standards.
  • Significantly faster data speeds – up to 10 Gbps.
  • Ultra low latency – 1 millisecond.
  • It is highly supported by WWWW (Wireless World Wide Web).
  • In addition to simply providing faster speeds, 5G networks will also need to meet the needs of new use-cases such as the Internet of Things as well as broadcast-like services and lifeline communications in times of natural disaster.

Advantages of Wireless Technologies

Boosted Efficiency

Data communications development leads to faster transfer of information within companies and between partners and consumers. For example, salespeople can check stock levels and prices while on sales calls.

Access and Availability

Wireless technology allows the user to interact while on the move. Means, you are rarely out of touch & you need no extra cables or adaptors to access office networks.

Adaptability

Office-based wireless workers don’t need to sit at dedicated computers to do productive work. Using wireless technology, they can do that while away from the office. It leads to seeing more employees working from home.

Cost Savings

Wireless technologies are simpler and cheaper to install, notably in listed buildings or where the owner will not authorize the installation of cables. The wired ones cost charges for install and the accessories, but the wireless technologies don’t need these. However, wireless technology presents all the best hallmarks in an affordable price range. 

New Possibilities

Wireless technology could enable you to offer new services. Such as airport departure lounges, train stations, hotels, cafes, and restaurants have introduced WiFi in there to users to connect their devices to their home offices while traveling.

Network Security 

Wireless technology gives you the newest encryption technology & makes it very secure. However, it will be inclined to attacks, but strong passwords and hardware & software can repel the problem.

Increased Mobility

The wireless technology enables users to move around openly with their devices in any part of the world. The accessibility of it helps in simple file sharing and also assists in making the internet life more beneficial for a person.

Easy Sharing 

Users can easily share their resources with other users. No extra cabling is required to add a new device to the network.

Requires Less Time and Expense 

Since it does not require lots of cabling, it results in less time and less expense. 

Enables BYOD

BYOD translates to “Bring Your Device”. With the progress of mobility, most of the businesses and industries are taking the aid of BYOD to help the employees in converting more interactively in the workplace. Not just that, it also facilitates cost-saving.

Disadvantages of Wireless Technologies

The benefits of wireless technology over wired technologies are pretty mesmerizing. However, there are also potential disadvantages to keep in mind.

Security

Wireless transmission is more visible to unlawful attacks by unauthorized users. Hence, you have to take care of the security arrangement (a unique password, use of antivirus).

Installation Problems

You may encounter obstacles if others in the same building also use wireless technology, or where other sources of electromagnetic (radio) interference exist. These lead to bad transmission or, in worst cases, complete loss of it.

Coverage

In some buildings, getting uniform coverage can be tricky, leading to ‘blackspots’ where the signal isn’t available. In structures constructed using steel reinforcing elements, you may find it hard to catch up radio frequencies.

Transmission Speeds

Wireless transmission can be less efficient than ‘wired’ transmissions. However, wireless networks backbone networks are wire or fiber rather than wireless.

Comparison between Wireless and Wired Technology

Fast Deployment

A wired deployment for a suburb may take years to complete when a few Cell Towers can provide the same service within a month or two.

Service Activation

In a wired deployment, the service activation still takes up to a week when wireless can connect as soon as you put the SIM card in your device.

Cost Per User

As the deployment is fast, so, the per-user cost is low. However, revenue per user is low too.

Easy to Carry Around

The connected device can move around simply as no wires attached. 

Less Maintenance

Wired systems require maintenance because the wires may get damaged or cut. Wireless technology uses Electrical Signals. This means, no maintenance is required.

More Connections Possible

In wired connections, there is a limitation of the ports. However, wireless technology has no such limit unless specified.

Future of Wireless Technologies in Various Field

We are currently undergoing a world transitioning from a complex web of wires into a wireless setting. Though we’ve already had a taste of the wireless world via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and IoT tech and gadgets, the best is yet to come. In the next few years, we will be experiencing wireless technology in areas of entertainment, security, education, medical, communication, and so much more.

Here are some future trends in wireless technology:

LiFi and Higher Transmission

As opposed to Wi-Fi, the Light Fidelity technology is entirely wireless and uses light instead of radio frequency to transfer data. This technology offers wide bandwidth and safe transmission unbroken by electromagnetic interference. These make LiFi ideal for the aircraft, medical, and even nuclear power plant sectors.

The mode of visible light, ultraviolet, and infra-red light offer a wide bandwidth and a higher transmission rate.

IoT & Wireless Sensing

Wireless sensors allow IoT connectivity and implementation. Inbuilt sensors in systems and devices enable customized experiences such as preferred room temperature or lighting. Aside from such smart home or smart office purposes, wireless sensors can support medical diagnosis, security measures, and tailor learning devices as per learner type and understanding.

In the IoT driven world, with multiple devices connected via wireless technology, you can look ahead to stable, automated functioning of robots, drones, industrial machinery, and even self-driving cars, uniquely in the forthcoming latency-free 5G, or even, 6G network.

Bluetooth & Wireless Audio Devices

We know Bluetooth technology as a short-range program to connect our speakers, phones, laptops, etc. Over time, we can expect large data receptacles to enable large file transfers, more devices via better Bluetooth connectivity and quality.

An upcoming trend that can be determined is the drastic usage of wireless headphones as opposed to the wired ones that accompany most mobile phones currently. The latest Bluetooth audio architecture with enhanced playback quality and lower latency is entering the music, home theater, and gaming industries.

6G 

Every generation of the internet represents new technologies and innovations. Predictably, a version of the 6G can be encountered by 2030. It may bring smart cities, homes and offices, advanced robotics working in all areas of production, artificial intelligence helping our day – to – day living, and super VR and AR applications. It will be stronger than 5G in terms of speed and latency. Expectations are high as estimated speeds on networks in the future will range from 3.6 GBPS to over 10 GBPS.

Wi-Fi 6: The Next-Gen Wireless Standard

Wi-Fi 6, also known as IEEE 802.11ax, is a milestone in the Wi-Fi standard’s 20-year journey. The Wi-Fi 6 builds on the strengths of 802.11ac by adding better performance, adaptability, and scalability that gives new and existing networks increased speed and capacity for next-generation applications.

With the addition of Wi-Fi 6, we will see an improvement in the number of devices able to connect to a Wi-Fi network, along with lessened latency, more lasting battery life, and improved overall user experience. Wi-Fi 6 chips are already hitting the market, and several access-point manufacturers are releasing products compliant to the specification. 

LPWAN 

Cellular technology is starting to shift from smartphones and into the IoT as a viable substitute for low-power wide-area-network (LPWAN) connectivity. Several semiconductor suppliers as Nordic Semiconductor, Qualcomm, Sequans Communications, and Sony (Altair) are releasing chipset products promoting the NB-IoT and LTE-M (also known as CAT-M1) cellular standards, and startups like Riot Micro also are entering the IoT market.

IoT device builders now have many alternatives for deploying LPWAN connectivity at cheaper costs, enabling a rapidly growing developer experience for long-range, low-data-rate, low-power applications, etc. By operating in the sub-GHz band or a licensed cellular spectrum and keeping the data bandwidth relatively low (tens of bits per message), LPWANs can achieve a range measured in the tens of kilometers. The wider coverage range has broad implications in leveraging the IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications for smart cities, building and home automation, and industrial IoT.

The future is simple, accessible, clearing, and importantly, wireless. The future of wireless technologies seems to be faster, smarter, and more efficient.

Conclusion

So, these are wireless technologies that are making your life easier. Work Flexibility, Mobile computing is the new way to work, Customer Service improved through Emails and other online correspondence & Enhanced Collaboration by modern startups and small businesses. Small businesses typically striving with budgets have found out wireless internet as a godsend technology. Finally, Paperless Environment is the most valuable achievement through wireless technology. The environmental impact created by printed documents is reduced and can be reduced to none. These are the reasons for believing as wireless technology is a blessing to us.

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